Fertility and eugenics: Singapore's population policies

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Abstract

Singapore, after serving for two decades as a model for Third World birth control and economic development programs, is now abandoning its earlier population policies in favor of encouraging dramatic population growth. The initial eugenics-based program introduced in 1984 sought increased fertility for university-educated women and provided major subsidies for the voluntary sterilization of poor and uneducated parents. These much publicized and internationally discussed programs have now been abandoned in favor of new population programs seeking to encourage fertility in lower as well as better educated groups. A forty percent population increase is being set as a goal. To accomplish this the effective Singapore Family Planning and Population Board has been abolished and Housing Development Board policies are in the process of being reversed to encourage rather than discourage fertility.

The research reported here was partially funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and by a grant from the Population Council's International Research Awards Program on the Determinants of Fertility in Developing Countries, a program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.